Women’s Rights Continue to be Threatened by Conservatives Seeking to Eliminate Private Insurance Coverage for Abortion
Various articles today report on the continued threats to women’s rights to basic sexual and reproductive health coverage in health care reform. The focus is on the role of conservative Democrats, led by Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak, in seeking language that would prohibit private plans from covering abortion care if in fact any federal funding were found in the same system.
The Washington Post reports:
The abortion dispute centers both on federal subsidies that would be
provided for people who cannot afford health-care coverage themselves
and the much-debated government insurance alternative, which is
included in the House version of the bill but is still being debated in
the Senate. Under a 1976 law, federal funds are generally barred from
being used for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest or to
ensure the life of the mother.
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}Democratic leaders early this summer backed a
provision that would allow people to use subsidies under the bill to
buy insurance plans that cover abortion, but only funds from individual
or employer health-care premiums could go toward paying for an
abortion. Effectively, insurance companies would be tasked with
segregating money from government payments from those coming from
private sources, and only the latter could be used for abortion.
But Stupak and some Democrats, along with congressional Republicans,
have criticized this provision as an accounting distinction. They say
the federal subsidies and the private payments are combined for a
person to buy a health plan; therefore, federal dollars are helping
fund insurance plans that allow abortions.
The Daily Beast in fact underscores the disappointment among members of the pro-choice community on how abortion is currently treated in the bill.
The Pelosi bill contains a number of provisions that would improve
women’s access to affordable health care, including ending “gender
rating”—in which insurers charge women more for coverage—and making it
illegal to classify C-sections, domestic violence, and even pregnancy
as pre-existing conditions that disqualify women for health insurance.
It includes new funding for comprehensive sex education, supplanting
some of the abstinence-only programs favored by the Bush
administration. The bill also aggressively expands Medicaid, the
existing federal health-insurance program for low-income women and
their children, which includes generous birth-control coverage.
But on the narrower issue of abortion access and affordability, the
major pro-choice organizations aren’t shy about expressing their
disappointment: The legislation references abortion more than 25 times,
mostly in an effort to restrict access to the procedure.
“We think all reproductive health care should be treated just like
other health-care services,” said Cecile Richards, the president of
Planned Parenthood. “Unfortunately, in this bill, it isn’t. All the
versions we’re seeing of the health bill single out abortion.”
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told The Daily
Beast: “It’s a disappointment there isn’t more in the bill to
proactively further women’s rights. I wish I was counting ways to
improve women’s access to abortion. But right now, we’re counting ways
to keep women from losing the coverage they already have.”
Clinic buffer zone ordinance struck down
A federal appeals court has struck down a Pittsburgh ordinance that
created two types of buffer zones around facilities that perform
abortions, according to Philly.com.
In a ruling issued Friday, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court
of Appeals found the 2005 Pittsburgh ordinance unduly restricted
leafletting and other free speech by abortion protesters. The
Pittsburgh ordinance bans protesters from within 15 feet of entrances,
but also makes them stay eight feet away from clients in a 100-foot
zone around entrances.
The court says either zone, by itself,
could be legal, reports Philly.com. But, combined, the court found the zones violate the
free speech rights of the protesters who find it difficult to hand
leaflets to clinic clients.
City attorneys aren’t commenting on the opinion because they’ve yet to review it.
Church and Conservative Groups Oppose Wisconsin Measure to Reduce Unintended Pregnancies and Infections Among Youth
WITI-TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin is reporting that the Catholic Church and conservative groups in Wisconsin are opposing efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies through comprehensive sexual health education.
A bill to be debated in the state Assembly in Madison today would require that schools which teach sex education provide
students with accurate information on the use of birth control.
Under the measure, if schools opt to teach sexual education, they would
be required to address the health benefits, side effects and proper use
of contraceptives and other methods to prevent pregnancy and sexually
Correct and consistent contraceptive use dramatically reduces unintended pregnancy and hence the need for abortion. The law is written such that parents can view the instructional materials and chose to not have their child participate in class.
Nonetheless, the measure is being opposed by anti-choice groups and the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, both of which claim they want to reduce the number of abortions. Supporters of the new requirement include Planned Parenthood, groups
representing nurses and health departments, and the state teachers’
November 2, 2009
Parenthood Leader Changes Sides First
Evil – Kathryn Jean Lopez National
Has pro-life movement
struck a nerve? OneNewsNow
I Am Zygote,
Hear Me Roar Newsweek
Pro-Life group gains
access to school facilities Alliance
Abortion Flip-Flop Makes Him Unworthy Philadelphia
spiritual conversions, and stimulus money Washington Examiner
kids await adoption in Texas Amarillo.com
Abortion’s Accomplice, Unmasked As a Killer in Pro-Life Website Christian News Wire (press release)
want amendment, foes vow fight The
Havre Daily News
Under Fire The Daily Beast
Pittsburgh abortion clinic
buffer law struck down Philadelphia
Abortion laws protect
only the abortionist Shore News Today
Fate of abortion notification
law unclear The Southern
to man accused in abortion doc threat Atlanta Journal Constitution
split over abortion puts
health-care bill in balance Washington
demand morning after pill by text Daily
November 3, 2009
Pro-life congress to
attract more than 1000 from around the world Catholic News Agency
Parents; Trusting Strangers Chicago
The trauma of
15 abortions Washington Post
Assembly considers proposal to require teaching of birth control FOX6Now.com